Space and life sciences centre established in Edinburgh Bioquarter

30 August 2013

 A new Centre of Excellence for Space and Life Sciences to be based at the Edinburgh BioQuarter will create a physical environment for innovation in the crossover between health and space technologies.

The Centre will enable healthcare providers, experts from space and life sciences domains, industry and investment organisations to explore synergies in these fields and leverage adjacent technologies to address global healthcare challenges.

Set up by Scottish Enterprise and the Satellite Applications Catapult, its aim is to catalyse significant economic benefits to both Scotland and the wider UK, with a focus on business incubation and growing the small to medium size enterprise industrial base. The Satellite Applications Catapult is one of a network of seven UK technology and innovation centres, set up by the UK Technology Strategy Board, which aim to drive economic growth through the commercialisation of research.

The Satellite Applications Catapult/ Scottish Enterprise joint project team has already assembled a number of requirements from healthcare agencies and has started project definition work addressing a series of work packages. It is expected that remote healthcare provision will be an important early strand which will bring rapid benefits to isolated communities and citizens.

The Centre has direct access to the nearby Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine, but will draw on people and organisations from around the UK and will also develop international relationships. It will be housed initially in the ‘Nine’ multi occupancy facility which already provides a focus for business incubation in the Scottish life sciences industry.

The Centre will lead in work to design life sciences experiments to accompany the UK’s first astronaut, Tim Peake, into space next year.

Julia Brown, director of chemical and life sciences, Scottish Enterprise said, "Scottish Enterprise has been working closely with the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult to explore the enormous opportunities in the development of space and satellite technologies in the UK.

"The integration of academic and clinical excellence at Edinburgh BioQuarter, supported by Scotland's strong cluster of medical technology and diagnostic and telehealth companies, provides an ideal location for a Space and Life Sciences centre that will address global healthcare challenges - ultimately driving home long-term, sustainable growth for the Scottish economy."

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “Where space and life sciences have come together before now there have been some remarkable success stories. Examples include the design of the artificial heart, advanced scanning technology, digital thermometers and there are many others.

"We also know that innovation thrives on real physical interaction between people; and this is what we are setting out to do: bring together people from the two different but in many ways very similar sectors, in which the UK already has world leading capabilities, to learn and grow from each other. The result could be dramatic, providing significant growth to the UK economy, as well as delivering much needed and timely healthcare solutions to society."


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